It may be a few years before touch-based notebooks actually dominate the market.
In a recent interview with DigiTimes, Acer president Jim Wong said that laptops with touchscreens should soon be widely available, taking over the market. He also noted that the launch of Windows 8 in October was bad timing for manufacturers, as there was only a short time to promote related products before the holiday season. Thus, it was difficult to determine consumer interest which in turn affected strategy planning for the remainder of the year and on into 2013.
Wong told the site that Acer is currently watching the Windows 8 market to see what happens. While there's already some data to sift, most of it is related to acceptance by early adopters and doesn't represent the whole market. Acer is also evaluating the non-x86 market given that the ARM architecture has seen rapid growth, but the company's forecast will focus on x86-based solutions since the major demand from Windows customers is still related to data management.
The Acer chief went on to state that many of the concerns and criticisms surrounding Windows 8 have been "rather unfair". He said that in the past, market observers have criticized Microsoft of lacking innovation. But now the OS has an entirely new touch-based interface fit for both the desktop and mobile form factors. This innovation is leading to talk that the change will dramatically delay adoption by consumers. But a move such as the new Modern UI is a risk Microsoft has taken, and right now it's just too early to tell if that risk was a failure or a success.
"Acer's internal research points out that a consumer, after controlling a touchscreen product for more than 20 minutes, would want to use his or her fingers to touch any display he or she sees," Wong said via DigiTimes. "This indicates that touchscreen control is an irreversible trend. Acer believes touchscreen control will be a strong selling point, but it still needs more time to take off."
As for the touchscreen dominance in the notebook market, this will likely take two to three years due to the high costs of touchscreen modules. For 13- and 14-inch models, currently touchscreen modules increase the final price by more than $100 USD. However this market is "worth investing in" because there's an audience that wants a touch-based machine that serves both work and entertainment environments.
"The supply of touch panel will also be a major factor affecting the penetration of touchscreen notebooks in the PC market. PC brand vendors already started securing touch panel supply six months before Windows 8's launch to ensure of sufficient supply," Wong said. "Most PC brand vendors are expected to join the touchscreen notebook market in 2013, and vendors that have stronger control over touch panel supply will have a bigger chance of success in the market."
To read the full interview, head here.